By Kari HawkinsFebruary 11, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - The Army Materiel Command Hall of Fame now has two command sergeants major listed among its honorees.
At a Feb. 5 induction ceremony at Army Materiel Command headquarters, Commander Gen. Gus Perna honored retired Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Elder, who served at AMC from 2005 to 2008, as the first non-commissioned officer to be selected for the Hall of Fame. Following right behind him was retired Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Riling, who served at AMC from 2011 to 2013.
"We are recognizing two command sergeants major for what they did here at AMC," Perna told a standing room only audience. "But this is not a good reflection of what they did in terms of getting recognition for themselves. Their approach was not about themselves. It was about what was best for the Army and what was best for this organization. It was a selfless approach. These two gentlemen led the way by enabling their commanders, supporting the staff and helping the workforce accomplish the mission."
Elder and Riling were inducted in the Class of 2018 alongside Gen. John Coburn, the 14th AMC commander from 1999 to 2001; Gen. Paul Kern, the 15th AMC commander from 2001 to 2004; Gen. Benjamin Griffin, the 16th AMC commander from 2004 to 2008; and John Shipley, a 58-year Army civilian who served as the director of the Aviation Integration Directorate from 1982 until his retirement in January. Griffin was inducted in a special ceremony in October 2018 and Shipley was inducted at his Jan. 24 retirement ceremony at Fort Eustis.
At the ceremony, AMC's new Hall of Fame display was unveiled. The display included the names of 22 inductees from 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The names of the six new inductees were prominently included with their photos and information about their accomplishments.
"It's truly humbling," Elder said. "The CG honored me, but it's really about those I worked with and about those who surrounded me. I look at the names on the display and I am humbled to be included among them and to be inducted not only with Ron Riling but also with Gen. Griffin, my former boss. It's very special to be included alongside my commander."
Riling expressed the same sentiments about his induction.
"I am super proud and super honored. I know a lot of other people who are well deserving of this honor because of their contribution to this command," Riling said. "To be chosen from among all those great people is very special."
Recalling his time at AMC, Riling said the organization's employees are known for their commitment to getting Soldiers the equipment they need.
"AMC employees always put Soldiers first. Because of that, my assignment here was very rewarding. AMC employees take care of Soldiers and get equipment to Soldiers that they need to be successful in their mission," he said.
Each of the inductees, Perna said, contributed greatly to the AMC mission and did so without the desire to get credit for their work.
"It's not about their scorecard or their evaluation or the medal they get at the end of their service," Perna said. "It's about what's best for our Army."
The six 2018 inductees represent 233 years of combined service, and each made unique contributions during their careers. Coburn and Kern served in Vietnam, Griffin represented AMC when ground was broken at Redstone Arsenal for its new headquarters, and Shipley was a member of the senior executive service during 35 years of his 58-year civilian career. During their tenure at AMC, Elder and Riling represented the NCO, the backbone of the Army, as they coached, mentored and enabled the workforce, Perna said.
"They each brought something new to this organization that enabled us," he said. "It's important to stand with them as we reflect on their selfless sacrifice and the spirit of their contributions."
The following are contributions made by the inductees of the Class of 2018:
• Gen. John Coburn - Commissioned in 1962. Served in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Germany as well as a number of stateside assignments. In 1992, he became the Army's Chief of Ordnance. In 1994, assigned as AMC's deputy commanding general. Served as AMC's 14th commanding general from 1999 to 2001. Initiatives included instituting a fleet-based recapitalization program, establishing the Prototype Integration Facility concept, implementing the Depot Partnership Program, promoting AMC as the "one-stop logistics" center for Soldiers, establishing Logistics Centers of Excellence throughout the Army, implementing a fellowship program for civilians and an internship program for industrial skills, and championing the Single Stock Fund.
• Gen. Paul Kern - Commissioned in 1967. Served two combat tours in Vietnam. Served as brigade commander of the 2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Storm, with a pivotal role in the historic attack on the Jalibah Airfield, Iraq. Served as the Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Took command of AMC shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attack and served through 2004. Initiatives included transforming AMC to field technological advances to deploy units faster than ever before, relocating the AMC headquarters to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, reorganizing the Headquarters staff into a G-Staff structure, establishing the Research, Development and Engineering Command, and promoting continuous process improvement throughout the Army Organic Industrial Base.
• Gen. Benjamin Griffin - Commissioned in 1970. AMC's 16th commanding general, 2004-2008. Initiatives included establishing the Army Contracting Command and the Field Support Brigades, integrating the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command as an AMC major subordinate command, and institutionalizing continuous process improvement with participation in Lean Six Sigma and ISO Certifications. During tenure, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended the move of AMC to Redstone Arsenal, and represented AMC at the ground breaking for its new Redstone facility.
• Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Elder - Enlisted in 1982, Deployed to both Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Became AMC's 12th Command Sergeant Major in 2005. Served on the Sergeant Major of the Army Board of Directors and served as the Command Sergeant Major for the incoming Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey's transition team. Authored the Center of Military History's book Sergeants Major of the Army, the book Educating Noncommissioned Officers, numerous articles about Army NCOs and the original NCO Website and its successor websites. Awarded the first-ever Army Knowledge Management Pioneer Award in August 2003 by the Army Chief Information Officer. In October 2005, donated websites to the Army, which became the BCKS NCO Net, winner of the Army 2007 Knowledge Management Award.
• Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Riling - Enlisted in 1983. Deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Became AMC's 14th Command Sergeant Major in 2011, only two months after the command moved to Redstone Arsenal. Served as command sergeant major for both AMC's Gen. Ann Dunwoody and Gen. Dennis Via. Guided AMC through a challenging retrograde mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. Visited Soldiers and AMC civilians in 20 states and 15 countries.
• John Shipley - Enlisted in 1954. Worked as an aerospace engineer at the Aviation Materiel Laboratories beginning in 1967. Chosen as director of the Aviation Integration Directorate in 1982. Worked in support of Special Operations Command and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, driving commonality between multiple airframes to ensure a higher rate of readiness in systems. Programs initiated included the Degraded Visual Environment system and oversaw nine program officers consisting of 200 personnel in the development of special operations forces aircraft.